Title: The Collector
Author: John Fowles
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Source: Personal purchase
Hailed as the first modern psychological thriller. The Collector is the internationally bestselling novel that captured John Fowles into the front rank of contemporary novelist. This tale of obsessive love- the story of a lonely clerk who collects butterflies and of the beautiful young art student who is his ultimate quarry- remains unparalleled in it's power to startle and mesmerize.
I finished this yesterday, when I took the wrong bus in the morning and ended up stuck in traffic. When I went on to GoodReads to mark it as "read," I realized it's taken me 41 days to read this book!
The Collector by British author John Fowles is among "books you must read before you die" today, even though it was rejected by many publishers in the beginning. It reminded me a little bit of Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead-- not because the subject-matter is similar, 'cos it's most definitely not, but because both books have made their way into pop culture through movies and tv shows. I can't tell you how many times I've come across a scene like this: character X is holding The Fountainhead. They're talking to character Y about nothing in particular. Then, as they're about to part, character X says, "I'll lend this to you; you gotta read it." Therefore, the "you must read this" is planted into our brains, mostly without us even realizing, I'm sure, through references in pop culture.
Fowles's The Collector is very similar to Rand's The Fountainhead in this sense. I don't exactly remember where else I saw references to The Collector, but there's one I haven't forgotten: Criminal Minds. The last episode of the first season (The Fisher King: Part I) and the first episode of the second season (The Fisher King: Part II) are set up around the book, really. In the end, in order to solve the mystery, the FBI has to get in touch with libraries across the country to locate a copy of the first edition of The Collector. As you watch the show, of course, you wonder, "what could be going on in this book?
To sum up what's going on... There's Ferdinand, who's a sociopath. He sees an art student named Miranda, likes her, stalks her for quite a while, and then when he wins money, he decides it's time to kidnap her because now he can provide for her.
The book has four chapters, and the first one was my favorite because it was from Ferdinand's point of view. I don't know why, but I always prefer the psycho's POV because there's something very interesting about being inside a brain that I normally do not understand at all. His chapter I finished in a day, but the rest of the book took me 40 days to get through. The reason behind this is Miranda's POV: she's the classic, whiny girl who makes women hate their own gender. Her POV is basically her journal entries, and she keeps going on and on about this much older artist G.P., who has an important effect on her, to the point where she accepts his values as her own. And she just keeps going on and on and on about him.
The last two chapters which bring the book to an end were rather exciting. I do understand now why The Collector is among must-reads, but I shouls also admit that it wasn't what I'd expected it to be. I guess I expected more psycho behavior? I don't know.
Just a warning, though: THIS IS NOT A HAPPY BOOK. If you have a problem with bad endings, don't pick this up.